On a recent road trip, hubby and I were discussing a book called “The Five Love Languages.” It teaches that each of us has a particular way of feeling loved, and when we receive that form of love, our “love tank” is filled. The categories are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts and Quality Time.
I have always thought that my love language is words of affirmation. I feel most loved when someone tells me I am doing a good job, or my kids say I’m the best mom in the world, or hubby praises me for pretty much anything. Brown-nosing goes a long way with me.
But recently, I realized that I have a secondary love language not mentioned in the book. In fact, it is often so strong that I am beginning to think it is primary. That is the language of, “leave me the heck alone!”
I crave quiet time, solitude, an hour here and there of respite from the demands of the world. Give me five uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom, and both my love tank and my septic tank would be full.
I guess it would be accurate to say, I feel most loved when my love tank is empty. This is a bit problematic because I’m married to a man whose love language is physical touch.
I remind myself to rest my hand on his leg while he is driving. When we walk together, I have to pay attention or I won’t notice that he is reaching out to hold my hand. It goes against my natural grain to sit next to someone on the couch, but I do it for him and he feels loved. This is all well and good until he wants to reciprocate. He didn’t read the book, so he thinks I want to be loved in the same way. But if he rests his hand on my leg for more than 62 seconds (I timed it), I want to claw my way out of my skin.
Holding hands makes me feel confined, like a bird in a cage. Getting comfortable in my space and then having someone sit next to me on the couch, makes me break out in a slight case of hives. I was always that kid who yelled, “Mom!! Make her stop touching me! She’s touching me again; make her stop!”
After 22 years of marriage, hubby and I are in a fairly comfortable place. I make sure I respond to his need for touch, and occasionally he responds to my need to be left alone. The only place we haven’t ironed it out yet is in bed. Intimacy isn’t the problem, it’s the cuddling until one of us (him) falls asleep. I don’t sleep when anything is touching me, let alone a human being. I don’t like blankets or pajamas or really even the bed itself. If I could float nude in midair, that would be a perfect night’s sleep.
Hubby, on the other hand, wants to wrap his arms around me so tightly that he actually absorbs me into his own body. And even then, I’m not sure it’s enough. While discussing it on our road trip, he said, “Think of me as a teddy bear.”
“No,” I responded, “Teddy bears are lightweight and silent. Your sleeping arm weighs a thousand pounds, and you snore like a freight train.”
“Then think of me as a real bear!”
“Who in their right mind wants to ‘snuggle’ with a real bear? On the upside, I would have a legitimate reason to use my tranquilizer gun on you. Could you please stop at the next exit? I need to use the restroom.”
“Sorry. It’s really not my love language to stop and let someone use the restroom.”
So far, the love tank and the septic tank are equally full.
Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author) and Twitter (@GingerTruitt), or contact her at email@example.com.